Entry Level Bike Comparison

Hi All

Just wondering if any bike experts can offer a comparison between the below bikes - seem very similar in size (non suspension, flat handle road, 29inch), cost (~$699) and specs (the polygon and marin only have mechanical disc brakes) to me but i may be missing something ! Thanks


Any input would be greatly appreciated!


  • thanks OP me too

  • Hey there,
    All those bikes are pretty basic but will get you around town.
    My pick would be this one - https://www.99bikes.com.au/merida21-speeder-20-anthracite-bl...
    Slightly better groupset and hydrolic disc brakes instead of cable pull (avoid).

    However, you are gonna get better bang for your buck by going 2nd hand.

    Things to look for are:
    *Groupsets - Try and get Shimano 105. Avoid anything with 3 chain rings (gears on the front) all you need is 2.
    *Brakes - Try and get Hydrorolic brakes, avoid cable discs like the plague. If you can't get either, settle for rim :)
    *Frame - Avoid chinese brands like - Reid, Studds etc… Stick to Giant, Scott, Trek, Avanti.

    Hopefully that helps.

    • Thanks for all the tips! Im certainly looking at second hands but they are hard to come by - either get snapped up quickly or are the wrong frame size for me. Re the shimano 105, any idea which entry bikes might have these? Thanks again.

      • Not sure which bikes will have 105 you just have to keep your eye out on Gumtree and Facebook.

        It's a tough game to play, but hang in there and you will find something great eventually!

        • dumb question - how do you know what the groupset is…? looking at all the specs, they list the front/rear derailleur, cassette, crankset, brake shifters…and others simply saying groupset "shimano mixed"!
          EDIT - ive done some research and think i have it figured. The Merida has "tourney" or the front and "acera" for the rear. The studds, for example, has altus on both. Google indicates the altus sits in between the two…

          • @JuryWheel: Yep you got it.
            Generally you want to have 105 on either the shifers & rear derailliur.

            saying that, still look going 2nd hand.

            Join Bicycle Marketplace group on facebook - there are some rippers there.

            • @sflack: 105 is a road group and unlikely to be fitted to a bike with a triple chainring. Acera, Altus are mountain bike sets and what is typically used on basic commuter bikes due to suiting a wider range of gears.

          • @JuryWheel: It is not uncommon for manufacturers to spec a range of bits on a bike. They up spec the obvious bits, and down spec the bits they think won’t make a difference or you won’t notice. This is especially true on cheaper bikes.

            The manufacturer is trying to make something more appealing than the competing brands. if that means sticking a better spec rear derailleur on it but having the same for everything else, that’s what they do.

    • avoid cable discs like the plague.

      Why is that? They work fine.

  • I would go with the Merida.

    The Marin has external cable routing whereas the others all look like they are internally routed. Not a big deal, but a point of difference against the Marin nonetheless.

  • Merida for the hydraulic brakes.

    But second hand would trump this any day if you put in the time to look at gumtree/marketplace

  • Studds is a bit of a no-name brand, but you’ll get better spec parts.
    Polygon seems to have the next best gear set, but hydraulic brakes.
    Marin has he cheapest gearset.

    Much of a muchness really, but I’d probably go the polygon.

  • Best would be to check Facebook Marketplace everyday, you'll be able to get one with similar specs for less than 400

    • I guess thought if im spending $300-400 on a used one off marketplace, the bike could be 2-7 years old and might never have been serviced. OR i could spend ~$630 on the merida after gold discount and get a brand new one. Im not adverse to second hand, but i might be waiting a while (have to drive an hour) to get something i like and i am just thinking maybe the extra $200-300 is worth it…

      • From what I’ve seen of the second hand market (I’m an avid bargain hunter of bikes) there are very few bargains around. Most are overpriced compared to pre covid.

        Used to be that about 50% of RRP after about 12 months was normal. Now people are asking almost new prices for quite old bikes.

  • prob depends which colour you want and whether you can get it in stock near you. they are all very similar. I don't agree that buying 2nd hand is always better. Yes you may get better bike and components but you will be getting 2nd hand. So unless you know what you are looking for in terms of wear and are comfortable fixing/replacing worn parts like brake pads/chains buy it new. Bike shop maintenance is expensive. Also if you get it from an actual shop they will do a couple of free adjustments for the first few months which you will need as the gears and brakes settle in.

    • i have no idea what im looking at - especially hard with disc brakes!

      • with that info I'd go the 99 bike option. Go in, test ride it, check your size. They will set it up for you. Ask them about free tune ups for the first 3 months. Join the gold club to get the lowest price - sounds like you will need helmet too. Also easier to buy in store to make sure fit is good for the first time. Good luck, happy riding!

  • Of what you've put up, I'd go with the Merida.

    So much about bike buying though comes down to specific use cases.

    Flat bar roadies are a great option for keeping the costs down when you're using the bike for fitness/commuting and will basically only ever ride on hard surfaces (concrete, etc.) and don't want to deal with all the "nuances" that come from a full blown road bike. They're typically a little less temperamental and (in my experience) are less susceptible to punctures (combination of usually using a thicker walled tyre and the tyre itself being wider). You can physically ride them on hard packed dirt/grass, but they're certainly not designed for this.

    All else being equal, these will be the fastest "hybrid" style bike, but you largely limited to hard surfaces. The more mountain bike styled hybrids will expand your use cases to cover more "off road" terrain, will probably offer a somewhat more comfortable ride, but will come at the cost of being a bit heavier/slower. You can bit a bit more rugged with the mountain bike style as they'll also usually offer front fork suspension (as well as just being built that bit more robustly).


    Decathlon BTWIN bike is currently on special. Its a hybrid, but it has front suspension, has hydraulic brakes and is down to $499 at the moment. Only thing is the components seem to be very different to others…..any thoughts?

    • This one? https://decathlon.com.au/products/riverside-900-hybrid-bike-...

      Decathlon and anaconda seem to have their RRP set high so the sale price looks good when the sale price is a more typical indicator of the true value.

      The listing linked screams ‘I have no idea about bikes’ It’s not a 28” wheel, given the tyre size is 700x38. That’s 29”. The forks will add little bit weight to the ride. Some of the other comments are obviously erroneous.

      It’s listed as a trekking hybrid so will likely be slower than the flat bar bikes listed above.